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Current and Recent Science at FGBNMS

Click on a category to go directly to that section of the list:

Below the Coral Cap




On the Coral Cap
* Coral
* Critters
* Algae

Additional links are provided directly from each entry when more information is available about that project.

Links from researcher's names will take you to their own websites, papers, or presentations.

A listing of government acronyms used in these descriptions is available at the bottom of the page.

Please visit our Research Bibliography web page for a chronologic listing of scientific publications and articles associated with sanctuary research from 1937 to present.



Graduate student Rachel Wright is studying responses by the corals to bacterial pathogens.  The corals were photographed by graduate student Marie Strader under different filters to visualize the various green fluorescent  protein (GFP)-like proteins living in the tissue of the corals.  The function of fluorescent proteins in corals is unknown. These corals (Montastraea cavernosa) were sampled under permit for the Matz Lab at University of Texas. (Images: UT/Matz Lab/Marie Strader)

Three coral polyps fluorescing green, blue and red under different light filters

Two coral polyps fluorescing in different patterns of green under special light filters.

Several coral polyps fluorescing green and red under special light filters

Coral polyp fluorescing red with bright blue flecks under special light filters

Characterization of mesophotic corals through genetic connectivity assessment and a reciprocal transplant experiment

Coral Genetics - Mikhail Matz, University of Texas; Ernesto Weil, University of Texas; Luiz Rocha, California Academy of Science

Coral Recruitment - Sarah Davies, University of Texas

Coral Spawning - Mikhail Matz, University of Texas; Sarah Davies, University of Texas; Carly Kenkel, University of Texas; Marie Strader, University of Texas; Eli Meyer, Oregon State; Sarah Guermond, Oregon State

Coral Species Catalog of FGBNMS - Tom Bright; FGBNMS

Genetic Analysis of Thermal Tolerance and Acclimation Capacity in Reef-Building Corals - Eli Meyer, Oregon State

Investigating novel mechanisms in coral recruitment at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary - Mikhail Matz, Unversity of Texas

Mechanisms of coral larval behavior and symbiont uptake at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary - Mikhail Matz, Unversity of Texas

Symbiodinium communities associated with scleractinian corals in the northwest Gulf of Mexico - Adrienne Correa, Rice University

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Biodiversity of Crustaceans of FGBNMS –  Mary Wicksten, Texas A&M University

Chemistry of Otoliths of Lionfish - Derek Hogan, Texas A&M Univeristy Corpus Christi

Determining the Presence of Placozoans in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary - Nathan Johnson, Texas A&M University Galveston

Fish Recruits on the Reefs at FGBNMS - Lynn Wetmore and Jay Rooker, Texas A&M University Galveston

Genetic Identification of Stomach Content Analysis of Lionfish - FGBNMS; Derek Hogan, Texas A&M University Corpus Christi

Genetics of Lionfish - University of Texas; Texas A&M University Corpus Christi

Genetics of the Spiny Lobster, Panulirus argus – John Hunt, Florida Wildlife and Fisheries Service

Invasion of Indo-Pacific Lionfish - FGBNMS; REEF

Manta Ray Census and Individual Identification – FGBNMS (continuation of work by Jeff Childs); Rachel Graham, MarAlliance

Manta Ray Satellite Tracking and Isotope Analysis - Nick Farmer (NOAA Protected Resources Division); Josh Stewart (Manta Trust, former Nancy Foster Scholar, and SCRIPPS Institution of Oceanography graduate student); National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

Movement and Oceanographic Preferences of Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks (Sphyrna lewini) in the Gulf of Mexico - David Wells, Texas A&M University Galveston

Occurrence of Elasmobranchs at FGBNMS – FGBNMS (continuation of work by Jeff Childs)

Photosynthesis and Respiration on the Carbonate Sand Sediments within FGBNMS – Gil Rowe and Tommy Heathman, Texas A&M University Galveston

Population Connectivity of the Pulley Ridge/South Florida Coral Reef Ecosystem: Processes to Decision-Support Tools - Luiz Rocha, California Academy of Sciences

Population Structure of the Bearded Fireworm (Hermodice carunculata) in the Northern Gulf of Mexico – Anja Schulze, Texas A&M University Galveston

Satellite Tagging of Whale Sharks – FGBNMS; Rachel Graham, MarAlliance; Eric Hoffmayer, NMFS

SEAMAP – Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program: Assessment of Fish Populations on Reefs and Banks in the Gulf of Mexico – Kevin Rademacher, NMFS Pascagoula

Spawning Aggregations in the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico - FGBNMS

Stomach Content Analysis of Lionfish - FGBNMS

Whale Sharks: Occurrence of Individuals Using Spot Patterns – FGBNMS; Rachel Graham, MarAlliance

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Examination of Flower Garden Reef for Toxic Benthic Dinoflagellates – Tracy Villareal, University of Texas Marine Science Institute

Ecology of Ciguatera Dinoflagellates – Steve Kibler, NCCOS; Pat Tester, NCCOS; FDA; FGBNMS

Identification of Algae at FGBNMS – Suzanne Fredericq, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

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East and West Bank Long-Term Monitoring – FGBNMS; BOEM; Texas A&M University Galveston

Fish and Benthic Habitat Characterization of FGBNMS – NCCOS Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment; FGBNMS

National Coral Reef Ecosystem Monitoring Program – FGBNMS; NCCOS

Stetson Bank Long-Term Monitoring – FGBNMS

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Characterization and Assessment of Deepwater Habitat of FGBNMS – FGBNMS

Characterization and Assessment of Topographic Features of the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico – FGBNMS

Characterization of Antipatharians of the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico – Marissa Nuttall, FGBNMS/Texas A&M University Galveston; Dennis Opresko, Smithsonian Institute

Characterization of Deepwater Sponges of the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico – Christi Savarese,FGBNMS; Klaus Ruetzler, Smithsonian Institute

Deepwater Coral Reef Communities of the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico - FGBNMS

Genetics of Select Antipatharians – Carlos Umana and Juan Sanchez, Universidad de los Andes; Mercer Brugler, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Gorgonians and Antipatharians of FGBNMS and the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico – FGBNMS

Mesophotic Coral Health and Genetic Connectivity Assessment in the Tropical Western Atlantic – Joshua Voss, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute

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Fossil Reef Studies - Bill Precht, FKNMS; FGBNMS

High Resolution Multibeam Bathymetry of FGBNMS and the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico – FGBNMS; Jim Gardner, USGS/University of New Hampshire; NOAA; Niall Slowey and Julia O'Hern, Texas A&M University

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Coral Reef Ocean Acidification Sentinel Site in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary - Niall Slowey, Texas A&M University

Current-Topography Interaction and its Influence on Water Quality and Contaminant Transport over Shelf-Edge Banks – William Teague, Naval Research Laboratory 

Dead Zone - Steve DiMarco, Texas A&M University

Flower Garden Banks TABS Monitoring System - Texas A&M University-Geochemical and Environmental Research Group (GERG)

High-Resolution Subsurface Physical and Optical Property Fields in the Gulf of Mexico:  Establishing Baselines and Assessment Tools for Resources Managers - Jason Joliff, Navy Research Laboratory

Ocean Acidification - Xinping Hu, Texas A&M University Corpus Christi

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Government Acronyms:
BOEM - Bureau of Offshore Energy Management
FDA - Food and Drug Administration
FGBNMS – Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
FKNMS – Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
NCCOS – National Centers for Coastal and Ocean Science
NOAA – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
NMFS – National Marine Fisheries Service

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View a listing of Past Science Projects at FGBNMS.

For more information contact Emma Hickerson at

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Orange, branching gorgonian (soft coral) anchored in a bed of sponges and other sea life.
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